The state of Bavaria has a law that requires everyone to spend a minimum of 21.3% of their time celebrating public holidays each year. Almost all of these holidays are religious. Like Epiphany, which is the 6th of January and also traditionally the 12th day of Christmas, when your true love gives you twelve drummers drumming. And Ascension, which is the 40th day after Easter. On each of these holidays, every single business closes and all towns empty themselves of their inhabitants, who go hiking or picnicking in the mountains or skinny-dipping in the lakes. These things happen regardless of the weather, because Germans love the outdoors and will do anything to be in nature.
The most recent of these holidays was Easter, and Bavaria celebrated it with a four-day weekend, since Good Friday and Easter Monday are both official holidays here. This means that if you forgot to buy milk on Thursday evening, you better hope you have a cow out back to last you through the long weekend.
Right now I have an award-winning roommate who has earned Roommate of the Month for the past three months, mostly because of the delicious food she cooks me all day every day. In keeping with her award-winning style, she invited me to visit her hometown with her this weekend. She hinted that there would be free cake, so of course I agreed to come.
Over the course of two days, I celebrated Easter in proper Bavarian style. Here is what you should do if you also want to have a Bavarian Easter Bonanza:
- Buy a bunny. From what I can tell, rabbits are much more popular as pets in Germany than they are in America, and several people I’ve met have at least one. My roommate’s family has an old one named Felix and a new one named Ferdinand.
- Go to church before the sun comes up. My roommate’s family’s church had a sunrise service at 5 am, filled with singing, blessings, and the sun coming up. I may or may not have shamefully and lazily slept through this event.
- Hunt for your Easter basket. In Germany, they don’t fool around with egg hunts. Instead, they simplify the process by hiding baskets already filled with the goodies, so when you find yours you are ready to eat your 400 pounds of chocolate.
- Eat cake for breakfast. The priest blesses all the breads and cakes that people bring to the Easter sunrise service, and this makes them taste 7 times better.
- Incorporate white asparagus into every meal. Germans go crazy over white asparagus, which as far as I know is not even a thing in America. Since it grows in early spring, you get 300 German cookery points every time you use it in an Easter dish. My roommate’s family earned 900 points this weekend.
- Have egg-breaking competitions. In this game, two boiled eggs go head to head to see which has the stronger shell. Basically you and your opponent bash your respective eggs against each other, and the shell that doesn’t bust open is the winner.
- Go for an afternoon walk. This task is especially easy if you have mountains and rivers all around you and the weather is perfect. If you find a four-leaf clover, you will be crowned with flowers and revered as the American With Lots o’ Luck.